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(Source: T. Mason from Zebrafish Book 5th Edition)

An easy and efficient way for tracking zebrafish used in research is to use a computer database.  The following is a description of a database that is currently being used at the University of Oregon.  The database was written using FileMaker Pro ( and is available on computer disk or by download:

It will work on either Macintosh or Windows platforms.

The zebrafish database system

The database at the University of Oregon Zebrafish Facility is composed of several separate database files that interact with each other.  The major parts are fish lineage, fish inventory, researcher contact information, and security.

Fish lineage

In this database file, we record a unique number for each group of fish, information regarding the name, allele, and any comments the researcher might want to add.

Fish inventory

This database file tracks the locations of groups of fish in our facility.  We record the position (aisle & shelf) of the fish as well as the actual number of animals in each container.

Researcher contact information

Within this file we record researcher names, lab associations, email addresses, and each researcher's unique two or three letter code which is usually the acronym formed from an individual's name.


We have devised a method of security based upon the "username + password" match to allow access to our databases.


We use Retrospect backup software ( and conduct nightly backups of all our database files.  We use the CD-R option within the Retrospect software and then archive the CD-R media when it becomes full.  I n addition to nightly incremental backups, we record monthly "snapshots" of the database files and duplicate copies of all our files are kept off-site to secure the data.